How Would You Describe Daily Activities For Disability?

Submitted by Elizabeth on

When you apply for disability benefits with the Social Security Administration (SSA), you must fill out an Adult Disability Report. Part of this report involves you providing information about the daily activities with which you may struggle to perform as a result of your disability.

The Adult Disability Report is a factor that can play a critical role in determining whether the SSA either approves or denies your disability benefits claim. Thus, it is very important that you understand what types of daily activities the SSA considers relevant, and how they can affect your chances of receiving disability benefits when you apply for them.

What Are Daily Living Activities When Applying For SSD?

Daily living activities, or activities of daily living (ADLs), refer to the basic tasks that an individual typically performs on a daily basis between the time they wake up and the time they fall asleep. Common examples of activities of daily living (ADLs) may include:

  • Bathing
  • Cooking
  • Eating
  • Using the toilet
  • Performing household tasks/chores
  • Performing hygiene-related tasks
  • Working/volunteering

When determining an applicant’s eligibility for disability benefits, the SSA often considers these activities. The SSA also may account for an applicant’s ability to perform ADLs in order to assess the individual’s functional capacity as well as determine the extent to which their impairment affects their ability to work. Medical evidence and documentation of a person's functional limitations due to their impairment (i.e., medical condition) typically plays a role in supporting a claim for Social Security disability (SSD) benefits.

How Do Daily Activities Impact Your Claim?

According to the SSA’s criteria, in order for someone to qualify for disability benefits, they must struggle with a condition that results in a severe disability.

The SSA uses an applicant’s daily activities to aid them in both their assessment of the severity of the individual’s impairment as well as their determination of the degree to which the impairment affects their ability to work. The SSA considers a person's ability to perform activities of daily living (ADLs) as well as their ability to perform work-related tasks—also known as instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs)—when making a decision on a disability benefits claim.

The more a person’s impairment limits their ability to perform ADLs and IADLs, the more likely it is that the SSA will find this person to be disabled and approve their disability benefits claim.
For example, if a person's impairment makes it difficult or entirely impossible for them to dress themselves, cook, or perform other such daily tasks, the SSA may find that they are unable to work. Similarly, if a person's impairment affects their ability to handle their own finances, use public transportation, or communicate effectively, it is likely that the SSA will find that they are unable to work and, therefore, deserve to receive disability benefits.

It is important to note that the SSA has specific guidelines and regulations to evaluate the functional capacity of a person. It is also critical to stress the importance of providing detailed and accurate information about your daily activities when you submit a disability benefits claim.

Get Help With Your Disability Benefits Claim

Given that only about 31% of initial disability benefits claims receive approvals, it is clear that providing thorough information about daily activities is crucial. This is just one of many reasons why it is wise to enlist the help of an attorney who can assist you throughout every stage of the disability benefits process when filing a claim. For more information, complete the Free Case Evaluation on this page to get connected with an independent, participating attorney who subscribes to the website and can help you get the disability benefits you may need and deserve.

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